Governor Newsom Increases California National Guard Presence at the Border To Crack Down on Fentanyl Smugglers

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW: Cracking down on illegal drugs — including fentanyl —being smuggled into California, Governor Newsom is increasing the number of California National Guard service members deployed to interdict drugs at U.S. ports of entry along the border by approximately 50%.

SAN YSIDRO –– Building on California’s $1 billion investment to tackle the fentanyl and opioid crisis, today Governor Gavin Newsom announced he is increasing the deployment of California National Guard (CalGuard) service members by approximately 50% from 40 to 60 soldiers at the four U.S. ports of entry along the U.S.-Mexico border to support the interdiction of illicit drugs, including fentanyl. The Governor’s expansion enables CalGuard to further support U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) narcotic search operations, including through the operation of a vehicle X-ray system used for detecting the transportation and concealment of narcotics. This increased deployment builds on Governor Newsom’s prior expansion of CalGuard-supported operations that last year led to a 594% increase in seized fentanyl in the state. Last year, CalGuard’s efforts helped law enforcement seize 28,765 lbs of fentanyl in California, an amount with an estimated street value of more than $230 million.

WHAT GOVERNOR NEWSOM SAID: “Fentanyl is a deadly poison ripping families and communities apart. California is cracking down — and today we’re going further by deploying more CalGuard service members to combat this crisis and keep our communities safe.”

Over 150 Americans die every day from overdoses and poisonings related to synthetic opioids like fentanyl. As part of Governor Newsom’s Master Plan for Tackling the Fentanyl and Opioid Crisis, CalGuard is supporting federal, state, and local law enforcement counter-narcotic investigations and operations through analytics, reconnaissance, and interdiction efforts. As of July 1, CalGuard helped seize over 11,760 lbs of fentanyl so far this year. The additional service members being deployed will support CalGuard’s existing partnership with CBP to interdict illegal drugs and develop informational analysis on organized criminal activity. CalGuard’s statewide efforts are funded through a $30 million investment proposed by Governor Newsom and enacted in the state budget to expand the department’s existing drug interdiction efforts and deepen integration and support to High-Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas (HIDTA) programs.

A majority of fentanyl is smuggled into the U.S. at ports of entry by U.S. citizens, not by migrants seeking asylum, according to the Department of Homeland Security.

Since 2019, Governor Newsom has invested over $1 billion to crack down on opioid trafficking and enforce the law, combat overdoses, support those with opioid use disorder, and raise awareness about the dangers of opioids. The Governor’s Master Plan for Tackling the Fentanyl and Opioid Crisis provides a comprehensive framework to deepen the impact of these investments — including through a CalRx effort where California will allocate $30 million to support partners in developing, manufacturing, procuring, and/or distributing a naloxone nasal product under the CalRx label. With today’s announcement, coupled with California’s extensive abatement, enforcement, and treatment efforts outlined in the Master Plan, the state is saving lives and improving public safety.

B-roll footage and photos featuring a recent visit by Governor Newsom to the San Ysidro Port of Entry are available for download and use by producers and members of the media.